HOUSTON — A Houston-area sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot in an apparent ambush while searching for a man who pistol-whipped a pizzeria clerk, authorities said Thursday.

Harris County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of an assault on a clerk at a Little Caesars Pizza in the Houston area just after 10 p.m. Wednesday, Chief Deputy Mike Lee said at a news conference.

A customer who came in to pick up a pizza he ordered got upset because the order was incorrect and pistol-whipped the clerk and fled, Lee said.

As deputies searched for the customer’s vehicle, a deputy notified others that he had found it, and was communicating with another deputy when he was apparently ambushed, Lee said. When others arrived, they found the deputy shot multiple times and rushed him to the hospital, where he died, he said.

Lee did not identify the deputy, but said he was a member of an elite task force focused on violent people, and had been with the sheriff’s office for about five years.

“He was very good at his job, very well thought of,” Lee said.

Authorities believe they have a good idea who the suspect is and SWAT teams have been set up at two locations, Lee said, expressing confidence that he’ll be taken into custody in a “timely manner.”

“If the suspect happens to see this, he needs to do the right thing and turn himself in,” Lee said.

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